Monday, 17 November 2014

Raucous Reviews: Far Cry 4


Image from www.gamespot,com
A gay antagonist. Slight concept art racism. Exploding elephants. These are some of the many subjects that have kept Far Cry 4 implanted in the minds of gamers ever since the rumors flooded in of a sequel to 2012's superb Far Cry 3. All of these boisterous, trailblazing features are ever-present in Far Cry 4. cementing the franchise's rise to flamboyant stardom.

Let's start with one of the only negatives: the story. Usually, I'd be OK if the story took a backseat in a game, especially one like Far Cry that has hundreds of hours of organic and organized fun, but Far Cry 4 seems to waste the wide array of characters at their disposal. The charming, humorous Pagan Min is set up marvellously in the opening scenes, but is seldom used after, only in occasional (Yet entertaining) calls to Ajay, and other well-written characters like Yogi, Reggie and DJ Rabi Ray Ranna are only used as plot devices. 

The story instead focuses on two uninspired heads of the Golden Path, Kyrat's group of rebels: Sabal, a man who wants to keep to ancient Kyrati traditions, and Amita, a forward-thinking innovator who disagrees with the treatment of a girl called Bhadra, who is fabled to be the Earth-form of the mythical Bride of Banashur. Typically, you'll have to decide between two ways of completing a mission: Sabal's method, or Amita's method. This does allow varied story outcomes, and it's nice to be able to replay a mission and play in a different way.

Still, missions are usually very open, and you're free to use the hundreds of weapons at your disposal (As long as you can afford them) to be stealthy, gung-ho or just plain lazy, allowing the animals to do your work for you. 

Also at your disposal is the new Grapple, a hook that lets you climb up and down various cliffs and wells in the huge Kyrati map. They're only able to hook onto set ledges on the map, but the world is littered with them. Just don't expect to be able to cheat on a Bell Tower by just rappelling all the way up.

Image from www.gamezone.com

Despite the world feeling so huge, and an insane amount of side missions that can vary from racing and hunting to climbing and travelling to the world of Shangri-La, it's not as impressive as Far Cry 3's Rook Island. There just isn't much sense of wonder or mystery in Kyrat; any locations you'll discover will either be a shrine or a dwelling, diminishing the discovery element a little.

However, the world does look beautiful. The graphics are crisp and beautiful, and the little details are what astounds me about this game. Animal hair looks so refined and realistic, and the way cans and bottles roll around on the dashboard of a car as you drive really add to the experience. There's also nary a performance drop in sight: however many elephants, explosions and balls of fire are on screen, the game pushes on and keeps consistent.

The best way to travel quickly round Kyrat is no longer Fast Travel (Though it is present, spoilsports). Auto-Drive is a helpful new feature that can keep you on the road for you to shoot any carbourne(?) enemies, or just to drive you to a waypoint so you can admire the edgy grass and crystal-clear water.

You'll also come across randomly-occurring events called Karma Events, which allow you to boost your Karma rating and therefore upgrade your abilities and get discounts from vendors. These vary from killing one of the Royal Army's Lieutenants to saving a hostage, and are fun to take part in and discover.

Image from www.godisageek.com
However, the most surprising positive is the Battles of Kyrat 5 V 5 multiplayer mode. Despite only having three game types, they are an entertaining and exhilarating romp, and the huge array or animals getting involved in the skirmishes create a fun, insane atmosphere that was absent in FC3's average multiplayer mode. The map editor is also back, and is more hands-off and deep than ever, but cannot currently create multiplayer, which is somewhat disappointing, yet should be addressed in a patch.

VERDICT
Despite characters being wasted and an average story that doesn't hold many twists, Far Cry 4 makes up for it's narrative shortcomings in brute force and rambunctiousness. The world is full of activities and opportunities, the multiplayer mode full of improvised, organic fun, and the shops loaded with guns and gadgets aplenty. The missions may stop in Far Cry 4, but the fun only just gets going.

9/10

A huge thanks to Ben Talbot from Ubisoft for sending us a PS4 review copy!




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